Food Vendors Find Few Customers During Protest
A tiny sliver of the 99% championed by the protesters say they have been directly hurt by Occupy Wall Street: food-cart vendors and other small businesses surrounding the small park at the center of the demonstration.
“Let them leave soon,” said Abderrahim Marhraoui, the owner of a Halal food cart who has been selling chicken kebabs and gyros in the park since 2003. Marhraoui estimated that sales are down as much as 80% during the protest and said he plans to go return to his native Morrocco if things don’t pick up by the end of the month.
Before it became a 24-hour protest encampment, Zuccotti Park attracted a lunchtime crowd from the offices in the Financial District. In interviews Tuesday, more than three weeks after the protesters arrived, the dozen or so food vendors who work around the park said their businesses have taken a nose dive.
Other vendors expressed similar frustrations. One smoothie vendor said sales has fallen between 30% to 40% over the past three weeks. Workers at the fruit stand selling produce from Migliorelli Farm in Tivoli, N.Y., blamed the protest for driving off about a third of their normal sales.